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Nine Innings with Barry Davis
By Phil Stanton
Davis is entering his eighth season at Rider with a record of
190-181 with the Broncs. He guided Rider to Metro Atlantic
Athletic Conference titles and NCAA Regional berths in 2008 and
2010. The Broncs have advanced to the four-team MAAC Tournament
in each of the past four seasons. Davis was voted the best game
coach in the MAAC in our CBI coaches survey.
Davis has a career record of 761-348 as a head
coach. He led Georgia Southwestern State from 2001-04 after 11
years at Gloucester County College, where he won four National
Junior College crowns and eight Regional titles. Davis was named
NJCAA Division III National Coach of the Year four times.
Davis recently took time to answer our questions
about the Broncs and about his colleagues in the MAAC.
First Inning – What will it take for Rider to
unseat Manhattan as MAAC champion in 2012?
The first thing is you have to make the
conference tournament. When you only take four teams in a
nine-team league, each team must be at its best in conference
play. Here is a simple formula: Win each series. Once
you are in, anyone can win. It is that simple.
Second Inning – You have guided the Broncs to
a pair of MAAC titles and two NCAA Regional appearances. What
were those experiences like for you personally and for the
It is very exciting to see the players who work
hard all year long be rewarded in attaining a goal that is put
at the top of the list each year.
Inning – How do you see the race shaping up in the MAAC this
This season is wide open. We lost a tremendous
group as did many others. There will be some surprises this year
in my opinion. It is possibly the most balanced league in my
Fourth Inning – Junior lefty Tyler Smith is
considered the top closer in the MAAC. What makes him so
successful at end of games?
He has the demeanor to handle tight
situations. Mix in the ability to throw strikes on both sides of
the plate combined with more than one pitch, it makes him
successful late in games.
Fifth Inning – Your top two hitters return in
senior Brandon Cotton and sophomore Nick Crescenzo. What makes
them so productive at the plate?
Both have the ability to put the ball in play and
pressure the defense with their speed. Both work extremely hard
at their games and it has paid off so far.
Sixth Inning – There are some outstanding
coaches in the MAAC. What impresses you most about Tony Rossi,
entering his 43rd season as head coach at Siena?
Forty-three years in the game at the same place
is impressive. Very. He also plays the toughest schedules in the
MAAC, preparing his teams for conference play. They always are
in the mix. A tribute to Tony.
Inning – Your tenure at Rider coincides with that of Mike McRae
at Canisius, Pat Carey at Iona and Derek England at Saint
Peter’s. What are your thoughts on coaching against these
I enjoy competing against their teams. Each of
these programs has improved each year and this year will be no
exception. I have to have my team ready to play each and every
Eighth Inning – What do you think of the newer
coaches in the conference?
I think Bill Currier and Jim Duffy are excellent
coaches with strong backgrounds on the Division I level. They
will certainly raise the bar at their respective programs and I
expect both will be contending immediately.
Ninth Inning – Which coaches outside of the
MAAC impress you?
There are so many coaches that do an excellent
job all across the country. Being a coach in the Northeast, I am
very impressed with what Jim Penders has done at
Connecticut. Steady improvement each year and two consecutive
Regional appearances. Eddie Blankmeyer has St. John’s in
contention each year both in the Big East and on the national
level. Brian O'Connor has put Virginia Baseball on the
map. In his tenure, UVa have risen to an elite program.
(photos courtesy of Rider Media